Red wine makes just about any kind of spaghetti sauce richer and more robust. That’s because it helps release the flavor of the ingredients, especially those with fat. Red wine also imparts a fruity flavor to the spaghetti sauce. Different kinds of spaghetti sauce can taste so much better with the right red wine.
The best red wine to use for cooking spaghetti sauce will depend on the kind of sauce or ingredients. For instance, an acidic red wine will highlight the flavor of a tomato-based sauce. A dry and light-bodied red wine, on the other hand, will emphasize the seafood content of the spaghetti sauce.
Different people prefer drinking different types of red wine. Meanwhile, different spaghetti sauce types require different kinds of red wine in order to make themselves a complete knockout.
If there’s a spaghetti sauce recipe you swear by and you want to level it up, continue reading. Below, you will come across some of the best red wines you can use for cooking spaghetti sauce. After checking out this article, you can consider yourself an authority on dishing out delicious spaghetti with red wine in its sauce!
Best Red Wines for Tomato-Based Spaghetti Sauce
The best red wine for cooking spaghetti sauce that’s tomato-based is something that tastes a little acidic. Otherwise, the red wine will dilute the tomato-based sauce, thus making it taste bland. Some of the red wines perfect for the job are dry and tannic ones such as Merlot, Shiraz and Nebbiolo.
Just about any red wine you have lying around that’s too acidic for other recipes may be used for cooking tomato-based spaghetti sauce. It will enhance the acidity of tomatoes, which is what most people love about them.
Try to avoid sweet-tasting red wines when whipping up tomato-based sauces.
Best Red Wines for Cream-Based Spaghetti Sauce
The best red wine for cooking spaghetti sauce that’s cream-based has low to moderate tannins. That’s because it will permit the main ingredient of a cream-based sauce, such as butter or heavy cream, to shine. Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are some of the best for spaghetti sauces with cream in them.
It’s the richness and smoothness of cream-based spaghetti sauces that make them complete standouts.
Refrain from using red wine that has a lot of tannins for its bitterness and acidity will neutralize the unique characteristics of a cream-based spaghetti sauce. Look for something that’s dry and has mild fruity notes.
Best Red Wines for Cheese-Based Spaghetti Sauce
The best red wine for cooking spaghetti sauce with plenty of cheese is something that has a light body. Using red wine that’s medium- to full-bodied will overpower the creaminess and saltiness of the cheese. Some very good examples of red wines great for cheesy spaghetti sauce are Lambrusco and Gamay.
Cheese-based spaghetti sauces are similar to cream-based ones in that they are not only heavy on dairy ingredients but they also make for velvety smooth spaghetti sauces.
In order to highlight this particular quality of spaghetti sauce that’s primarily cheese, go for a light-bodied red wine.
Best Red Wines for Meaty Spaghetti Sauce
The best red wine for cooking spaghetti sauce with meat is something that’s either medium- or full-bodied. Not only will it help tenderize the meat but also encourage its flavors to escape. Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Malbec and Shiraz are some of the best red wines for meaty spaghetti sauces.
Many meat dishes can taste so much better with a splash of red wine. Needless to say, spaghetti sauces that have meat, from beef, pork, lamb to chicken, can become more unforgettable with a little red wine.
Red wine helps tenderize the meat ingredient, and in the process allows its flavor to leach into the sauce.
Best Red Wines for Seafood Spaghetti Sauce
The best red wine for cooking seafood spaghetti sauce is something that will not overpower the taste of seafood. This is why the right one for the job is a light-bodied red wine. Some of the most compatible with spaghetti sauces with seafood are Lambrusco, Gamay, Pinotage and Grenache.
When making spaghetti sauce with seafood, the ultimate goal is to make sure that anyone who eats it will be able to tell the presence of seafood and identify it, too, without any trouble.
For this, red wine with a light body is the right addition to spaghetti sauce with fish, shrimps, clams, etc.
Best Red Wines for Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce
The best red wine for cooking spaghetti sauce that contains vegetables is the light-bodied kind that will allow the freshness of the veggie ingredients to make their presence known. Lambrusco, Gamay, Shiva, Riesling and Pinot Noir are all red wines with low alcohol content ideal for vegetable spaghetti sauce.
Most vegetables have flavors that can easily be overpowered by other ingredients.
Needless to say, if you are planning on adding red wine to a healthy spaghetti sauce with vegetables, make sure that it will allow those veggies to stand out. The right one for the job is something that’s dry and has a light body.
Best Red Wine for Spaghetti Sauce With Herbs
The best red wine for cooking herb-tasting spaghetti sauce is the kind that will not overpower the flavor imparted by the herb added into the sauce. For this job, just about any light- to medium-bodied red wine with a mild fruity taste will do the trick, such as Lambrusco, Gamay, Merlot and Sangiovese.
Spaghetti sauces with herbs, especially highly savory and aromatic ones, do not require a lot of ingredients to make a huge impact. And this is why the perfect red wine for the task is close to being dry and having minimal alcohol content.
Just about any red wine that is loved by many people for its mild body and taste can be used for herby sauces.
Best Red Wine for Hot and Spicy Spaghetti Sauce
The best red wine for cooking spaghetti sauce that’s hot and spicy is something that will allow the added spices to take center stage. Something that’s both dry and light-bodied, such as Lambrusco, is highly recommended. Other red wines suited for hot and spicy spaghetti sauces are Gamay, Shiva and Riesling.
No one adds hot spices to the spaghetti sauce without being willing to feel some fire in the mouth.
Adding red wine that’s not too sweet and high in alcohol content is a wonderful idea if you want to serve spaghetti with a hot and spicy sauce. Something with a mild fruity flavor can help bring a little complexity to the flavor profile.
Just Before You Cook Spaghetti Sauce With Red Wine
If you want to turn that spaghetti sauce from regular to spectacular, don’t just reach for any bottle of red wine — opt for something that will go really well with the spaghetti sauce you are planning to make, the kind that will bring out the best in the ingredients rather than obscure them.
Above, we checked out different red wines perfect for various spaghetti sauces. Besides going for the right type, it’s also a good idea to choose one with superb quality for the most unforgettable spaghetti sauce.
Can you add red wine to store-bought spaghetti sauce?
It’s perfectly fine to add a splash of red wine to store-bought spaghetti sauce. However, the spaghetti sauce will have to be cooked in order to give the alcohol content of the red wine enough time to get burned off. Cheese, meat, vegetables and herbs may be added, too, other than red wine.
Can you use red cooking wine instead of red wine for drinking?
Substituting red wine the recipe is calling for with red cooking wine is very much possible. However, red cooking wine usually has more alcohol content and a much bolder taste than red wine intended for drinking, and the outcome may not be the same even if you follow the recipe carefully.
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